US April methanol heads toward rollover on Methanex nomination

25 March 2011 20:38  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US April methanol contract appeared headed toward a rollover on Friday with a wide gap likely to remain between spot and monthly prices.

Methanex nominated 128 cents/gal, which is a repeat of its March price and set the stage for a rollover, which buyers expected.

Spot barge values have stayed 15-20 cents/gal cheaper for most of the month, continuing on Friday in the 107-109 cents/gal range.

A popular formula based on the current price of crude oil puts the break-even methanol spot price for producers at 116 cents/gal.

Spot prices reached 114 cents/gal earlier this month, but have trended down since then because of expected new capacity in the Americas and the Middle East.

But the trend slowed, offset by rising crude oil plus a natural gas cutback in Trinidad over the past month that reduced methanol production there by 10-20%.

Southern Chemical (SCC), which nominated 126 cents/gal for March, has not yet issued its April number. Methanex and SCC historically have set the monthly North American contract methanol range with their nominations.

NYMEX front-month crude futures held mostly steady in Friday trading, closing at $105.40/bbl, down slightly from Thursday’s close but up about 4% from a close of $101.07/bbl a week earlier.

Methanol prices, as with many petrochemicals, tend to track crude values over the long term.

($1 = €0.71)

For more on methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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